The biggest bargaining chip a team can have in the pursuit of a coveted free agent is that players' bird rights. According to Ken Berger, the Atlanta Hawks are likely to make a serious run at a trade for Lakers' center Dwight Howard.
There's widespread belief that the Lakers won't trade Dwight Howard. However, several teams believe Atlanta will make a serious run at him.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) February 19, 2013
Ok first and most importantly the Lakers say they are not listening to trade offers for Howard. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has already reportedly told Howard that he would not be traded. However, according to Berger that might not stop the Hawks from making one last push.
If you are Danny Ferry what do you have to lose? The Hawks could assemble a package that started with Al Horford or Josh Smith. At this point no player currently on the roster might be deemed untouchable. At first glance it would seem that Smith would be needed to be kept to help convince Howard to stay in Atlanta.
That is where the Bird rights come in and are so valuable. Currently the Lakers can offer Howard a longer deal and $20 million more than any other team. The same holds true for Smith in Atlanta.
To reiterate the chances of this happening are remote but it is fun to talk about. If the Hawks gutted their team for Howard then they would have to bank that he wouldn't walk away from the fifth year and extra millions and that he could get healthy and return to the form we saw while he was in Orlando. The Hawks would still have plenty of cap room to entice other free agents.
Can't really blame Ferry for trying.